Forever 21 Is No Longer Forever

Karissa Casas, Author

Fashion retailer Forever 21 has reportedly been preparing for a potential bankruptcy filing. Reasons for their possible bankruptcy consist of, workforce, environment, lawsuits, and fashion issues. 

Back in 2016, it was discovered by the Los Angeles Times that Forever 21’s clothes were being manufactured by workers in Southern California who were paid less than minimum wage, $4 dollars an hour to be exact. Stores like Forever 21 rely on selling the latest trends at very low-cost prices, and in order to do so, they rely on virtual slave labor to maintain their ability to sell cheap clothing. 

The manufacturing process to create these inexpensive clothing items isn’t good for the environment either. More than 60 percent of fabric fibers are now synthetics, derived from fossil fuels and about 85 percent of textile waste in the United States goes to landfills. Consumers are becoming more conscious of the problems with fast fashion and are turning toward exporters focused more on enduring and sustainability. Shoppers are now purchasing clothing from thrifting stores or online innovation, websites such as Poshmark and Depop. 

On the other hand, fashion-wise Forever 21 is no longer unique; it’s become a fashion trend following store. The items sold are basic items that make consumers no longer interested. When asked Veronica Hernandez said, “I don’t mind it closing down, I barely shop there anymore because the material is so cheap and everything has sayings on it.”  The lack of consumption has lead Forever 21 to take any collaboration they could. A collaborator they worked with was the Cheetos company, creating shirts with Cheeto bag designs on them. Cheetos wasn’t the only company they partnered with; they also partnered with USPS. These collaborations were a sign of Forever 21 trying to escape bankruptcy by trying to catch any attention they could. However, as we can see from the filing for bankruptcy, it didn’t work. 

Forever 21 was so committed to saving their company that they allegedly stole Ariana Grande’s image instead of paying her the price she set for a collaboration. This caused Ariana Grande to sue she claimed that the fashion retailer wanted to confuse customers into thinking Grande endorsed Forever 21. They did this by posting photos of Ariana Grande on its social media accounts and using a model that looked very similar to her. 

Forever 21 is most likely to follow through with bankruptcy because of all the issues that have arisen for them.  



Forbes, V., & Sikes, D. (2018). Figure 2c from: Forbes V, Sikes D (2018) A survey of beetles (Coleoptera) from the tundra surrounding the Nunalleq archaeological site, Quinhagak, southwestern Alaska. Biodiversity Data Journal 6: e22788. doi: 10.3897/bdj.6.e22788.figure2c